EU agrees new Russia war anniversary sanctions package – DW – 25/02/2023

The European Union approved a new round of sanctions against Russia on Friday, on the first anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The package is the tenth adopted by EU member states.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, had promised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during her visit to Kiev earlier this month that the EU “would aim to have the tenth package of sanctions in place” against the one-year mark of the Russian invasion.

Scholz: ‘Russia is alone with its aggression’

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New sanctions target entities that support war and spread Russian propaganda

Sweden, which took over the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU early this year, said the new measures “aimed at limited measures against individuals and entities that support the war, distribute propaganda or supply drones used by Russia in the war. are used.”

“Together, EU member states have imposed the most powerful and far-reaching sanctions ever to help Ukraine win the war,” the Swedish presidency said on Twitter.

“The EU is united with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. We will continue to support Ukraine as long as necessary,” it added.

Why were the sanctions announced so late at night?

EU diplomats agreed on almost all points of the new proposed package, but Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki criticized it as “too soft, too weak” during a visit to the Ukrainian capital Kiev on Friday.

In Kiev, Morawiecki said: “We propose to add additional people.”

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda reiterated his concerns. “I had always expected stronger sanctions,” he said. He told reporters he expected Russia’s state-owned nuclear company Rosatom to be targeted.

Poland sought a ban on the import of synthetic rubber used to make tires from Russia, AFP reported, citing diplomatic sources. Italy was keen on a long transition period to give its manufacturers more time to find new suppliers.

The resulting disagreement has delayed a deal on what Brussels insiders describe as a still very substantial sanctions package, according to AFP.

US announces new sanctions

The US also announced Friday that it is imposing sanctions on hundreds of Russian companies, banks, manufacturers and individuals, particularly targeting entities that helped Russia evade sanctions on the one-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The metals and mining sector in Russia, along with arms dealers, technology companies and arms manufacturers, are specifically targeting those helping in countries ranging from the United Arab Emirates to Switzerland.

People gather all over the world for the Ukraine war anniversary

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Who was sanctioned in the last wave?

A dozen financial institutions, including Russia’s largest non-state public bank, importers of microelectronics and producers of carbon fiber, a key component of defense systems, were all hit by sanctions.

Thirty people face sentences for alleged links to Russia’s efforts to circumvent sanctions. Among them are Swiss-Italian businessman Walter Moretti and his companies, Nurmurad Kurbanov, a Russian-Turkmen arms dealer who reportedly represented Russian and Belarusian defense companies abroad, and Russian businessman Aleksandr Yevgenyevich Udodov, the former brother-in-law. of Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.

The US State Department followed suit with sanctions against more than 60 senior Russian government officials, including cabinet ministers and regional leaders, as well as three state-owned companies responsible for running Russia’s nuclear weapons program.

Visa restrictions were also imposed on more than 1,200 members of the Russian military. Olga Skabeyeva, a leading state television propagandist, and Oleg Romanenko, who was put in charge of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine after Russia seized it, were also placed on the sanctions list.

Russian state TV presenter Olga Skabeyeva faced visa restrictions from the US as Baltic leaders, including Poland, criticize the EU’s latest announced sanctions that are under discussion as being too lenientImage: Donat Sorokin/Tass/IMAGO

What did the US Treasury Secretary say?

In a statement, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said: “Our sanctions have had both short- and long-term consequences, acutely reflected in Russia’s struggle to replenish its weapons and its isolated economy. “

“Our actions today with our G7 partners show that we will support Ukraine for as long as it takes,” Yellen added.

She noted that the action was taken jointly with G7 partners with the intention of assisting Ukraine “for as long as necessary”.

Her comments come as she attends a two-day meeting of G20 finance ministers in Bengaluru, India.

She told Russian officials at meetings Friday that “their continued work for the Kremlin makes them complicit in Putin’s atrocities.”

Yellen added: “They bear responsibility for the lives and livelihoods being taken in Ukraine and the damage being done globally.”

What other financial sanctions for invading Ukraine has the US announced?

The US Department of Commerce and the Office of the US Trade Representative are also expected to ramp up pressure on Russia on Friday to mark the anniversary of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) also suspended Russia’s membership on Friday.

Bruno Le Marie, France’s finance minister, said at a G20 press conference that “our sanctions are strong, they are effective, they affect and reduce all of Russia’s revenues.”

“They disrupt Russian industry and undermine the war effort,” he added.

rm, ar/sms, jsi (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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